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The corporate Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches its members that one of their ultimate goals in life is to enter into one of its temples, after passing a worthiness exam, and participate in the ordinances thereof. The four main ordinances are baptisms for the dead, the initiatory ordinance of washing and anointing, the endowment, and marriages/sealings of couples and families for time and all eternity; the latter three performed for both the living and the dead. While teens and young adults are able to receive “limited” recommends to participate in baptisms, the church’s primary focus is for adults to participate in the endowment. However, the endowment as it stands in the church today is not only not based on revealed, canonized scripture, but every aspect of the temple endowment is warned against in the scriptures.
The Scriptural Endowment
The word “endowment” only appears five times in the scriptures, and all five of them are in the Doctrine and Covenants. The word “endowed” appears seven times; again all in the D&C. Section 105 is the first one that contains a combination of the two. Given on June 22, 1834 to the men of Zion’s Camp, the Lord says the following in verses 9-12: “Therefore, in consequence of the transgressions of my people, it is expedient in me that mine elders should wait for a little season for the redemption of Zion—That they themselves may be prepared, and that my people may be taught more perfectly, and have experience, and know more perfectly concerning their duty, and the things which I require at their hands. And this cannot be brought to pass until mine elders are endowed with power from on high. For behold, I have prepared a great endowment and blessing to be poured out upon them, inasmuch as they are faithful and continue in humility before me.” (Emphasis added.)
Verses 18 and 33 also mention an endowment, “But inasmuch as there are those who have hearkened unto my words, I have prepared a blessing and an endowment for them, if they continue faithful.” and “Verily I say unto you, it is expedient in me that the first elders of my church should receive their endowment from on high in my house, which I have commanded to be built unto my name in the land of Kirtland.”
Verse 12 refers to the baptized elders. Verse 18 refers to those not yet baptized. And verse 33 refers to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, the first and second elders of the church, as setting the example in receiving the Lord’s endowment after the completion of the Kirtland temple. While the verses in this section refer to the fact that the Lord had prepared an endowment for those who had been baptized, there’s no explanation as to exactly what the endowment was at that time.
To better understand what the Lord defines as His endowment, we need to fast-forward to the Lord’s acceptance of the Kirtland temple in Section 110:9, “Yea the hearts of thousands and tens of thousands shall greatly rejoice in consequence of the blessings which shall be poured out, and the endowment with which my servants have been endowed in this house.” Here the Lord is speaking in past tense regarding the promised endowment and is saying that his servants have already been endowed. This revelation took place only a week after the dedication of the Kirtland temple and we know of nothing resembling the current temple Endowment taking place therein. Therefore, what did the Lord refer to? The connecting piece is found in Joseph Smith’s preface of the Section, “In the afternoon, I assisted the other Presidents in distributing the Lord’s Supper to the Church, receiving it from the Twelve, whose privilege it was to officiate at the sacred desk this day. After having performed this service to my brethren, I retired to the pulpit, the veils being dropped, and bowed myself, with Oliver Cowdery, in solemn and silent prayer. After rising from prayer, the following vision was opened to both of us” (History of the Church, 2:435).
In short, Joseph Smith received the vision after he and the other Presidents partook of the Sacrament. What is the promise given in the Sacramental prayer? “…that they may always have his Spirit to be with them.” Or, think of the promise this way, “…that the Spirit may endow them with power from on high.” It really is that simple! The Lord promises those who have been baptized and renew their covenants by partaking the Sacrament that they will be endowed by the power of His Spirit to always be with them!
For the sake of completeness, the final mention of “endowment” in the D&C is in Section 124:39, “Therefore, verily I say unto you, that your anointings, and your washings, and your baptisms for the dead, and your solemn assemblies, and your memorials for your sacrifices by the sons of Levi, and for your oracles in your most holy places wherein you receive conversations, and your statutes and judgments, for the beginning of the revelations and foundation of Zion, and for the glory, honor, and endowment of all her municipals, are ordained by the ordinance of my holy house, which my people are always commanded to build unto my holy name.” What is the ordinance of the temple that the Lord told the saints to perform in Nauvoo? Baptism for the dead.
Even if people disagree with my conclusion of what the Lord’s scriptural endowment is for the baptized members of the church, we can also see that there is absolutely nothing mentioning a new name, garments of the holy priesthood, signs and tokens, and secretive oaths and covenants taken within a special ceremony. Because of the lack of any sort of mention of the above, members cannot verify if the current Endowment is truly of God or not and the information of its origination is being withheld by the leaders. However, a search of the scriptures will reveal what they have to say about each aspect of the current Endowment.
The New Name
The “new name” is given to a person as a precursor to the actual Endowment itself. Within the temple, a person is told to never reveal his or her new name until a specific time and place. That new name is also the name of one of the accompanying signs and tokens learned and received during the Endowment. Even after the ordinance is complete, the person is told to safeguard and never reveal the new name, but to always remember it. Here’s the problem: Everyone who goes through the temple that day is given the same new name for each of the men and women, so there is no individuality in the process.
Who was the first to receive a new name after being born into a physical body in the scriptures? The answer is found in Moses 5:31, “And Cain said: Truly I am Mahan, the master of this great secret, that I may murder and get gain. Wherefore Cain was called Master Mahan, and he gloried in his wickedness.” That’s right; Cain received the new name of Mahan after swearing a blood oath with Satan in secrecy, also meaning that his new name was to be kept secret as the narrative continues to refer to him as Cain for the remained of his story.
There are two other examples of people receiving new names in the scriptures: Abram to Abraham and Jacob to Israel. Both of these men received their new names by the Lord and, the more important point, they did not keep their new names secret. Thus we see that the pattern of receiving a new name within the temple more closely follows that of Satan’s than of God’s.
The “Garments of the Holy Priesthood”
Mormons get a lot of flak for their “sacred underwear” that they have to start wearing about going through the temple. A person isn’t clothed in the garments until after the washing and anointing of the initiatory ordinance; but the garment is considered a part of the Endowment due to its comparison with the coat of skins given to Adam and Eve as a shield and protection. The scriptures themselves don’t say anything directly regarding something like the garment, but the connection can be made more easily after reading the statement in the First Presidency Letter of November 5, 1996 that the garment is, “an outward expression of an inner commitment.” Or, in other words, wearing the garment is an outward mark or token to separate the members of the church from everyone else in the world.
This raises a warning flag based upon the pattern established in the scriptures. In the Old Testament, Cain was the one marked with a curse for his murder of Abel. And in the Book of Mormon, the Nephites were the ones who remained pure and white while the Lamanites were marked with dark skin and even splinter groups from the Nephites marked themselves according to their own pattern. Alma 2:4, 6-10 explains the pattern of the Lord marking people outwardly, “And the Amlicites were distinguished from the Nephites, for they had marked themselves with red in their foreheads after the manner of the Lamanites; nevertheless they had not shorn their heads like unto the Lamanites. … And the skins of the Lamanites were dark, according to the mark which was set upon their fathers, which was a curse upon them because of their transgression and their rebellion against their brethren, who consisted of Nephi, Jacob, and Joseph, and Sam, who were just and holy men. And their brethren sought to destroy them, therefore they were cursed; and the Lord God set a mark upon them, yea, upon Laman and Lemuel, and also the sons of Ishmael, and Ishmaelitish women. And this was done that their seed might be distinguished from the seed of their brethren, that thereby the Lord God might preserve his people, that they might not mix and believe in incorrect traditions which would prove their destruction. And it came to pass that whosoever did mingle his seed with that of the Lamanites did bring the same curse upon his seed. Therefore, whosoever suffered himself to be led away by the Lamanites was called under that head, and there was a mark set upon him.”
Because the Lord is pure and holy, that is how he distinguishes His people: through their pure hearts regardless of their skin colors or previous markings. However, those people who reject the Lord’s covenants end up marking themselves outwardly. The garments themselves would not be a problem, other than the fear and control surrounding their continual use, if they were made of plain cloth and the notion of their protection was symbolic much like Paul’s definition of the armor of God, because baptized members are promised the keys of the ministering of angels and thus protection from guardian angels. However, the notion that the garments and the markings on them themselves will be the protection against spiritual and physical harm is the problem because those markings are Masonic, rather than scriptural in origin.
The Signs and Tokens
Before I go into an elaboration on the various signs and tokens learned and exchanged within the temple, there’s one issue that I need to address. Members are told to explain that these signs and tokens are “sacred” and that they should never be revealed to anyone outside of the temple. The problem is that they are still kept secret from those who haven’t been through the temple. Once again, numerous sacred ordinances are outlined within the scriptures for all to see, but the members still respect them in order to not trifle with sacred things as directed. Anything that is not to be revealed except to the same people within closed walls is a secret, plain and simple.
With that explanation out of the way, here’s what the Book of Mormon says about secret signs and tokens in Helaman 6:22, “And it came to pass that they did have their signs, yea, their secret signs, and their secret words; and this that they might distinguish a brother who had entered into the covenant, that whatsoever wickedness his brother should do he should not be injured by his brother, nor by those who did belong to his band, who had taken this covenant.” The people referred to in this verse are the Gadianton robbers. In short, secret signs, tokens and names (including new names) are associated with secret combinations in the scriptures.
Where did the temple Endowment signs and tokens come from since there’s nothing regarding them in the scriptures? Non-Mormons will refer to the common argument that Joseph Smith stole the Endowment from a high-level Masonic ritual. These arguments are correct. There are also common photos of Gordon B. Hinckley and Thomas S. Monson exchanging one of the Masonic/temple token handshakes with Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, both of whom have openly admitted to being members of secret societies.
Presidents of the church openly give one of the temple tokens to government leaders.
Finally, the tokens are not as secret as the church will admit given that published magazine articles have featured the exact same token handshakes as part of the use of chi in martial arts, as shown below:
The first secret combination between Cain and Satan was established thusly in Moses 5:29, “And Satan said unto Cain: Swear unto me by thy throat, and if thou tell it thou shalt die; and swear thy brethren by their heads, and by the living God, that they tell it not; for if they tell it, they shall surely die; and this that thy father may not know it; and this day I will deliver thy brother Abel into thine hands.” The Book of Mormon reiterates these same oaths being taken by secret combinations established within both the Jaredite and Nephite societies.
When a person experiences the current Endowment, they perform similar oaths after being told that they will be delivered to Satan’s power if they divulge any of the temple’s secrets. Also prior to 1990, people were also required to pantomime their own ritualistic suicide of slitting their throats, cutting out their hearts, and removing their bowels in order to mimic the suffering of their lives to be taken should they violated those oaths. There is also one particular temple oath that engages into the practice of idolatry by having the members consecrate all of their time, talents and energies to “the church” and not to God, thus violating the directive of the first two of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:3-5.
This is the practice that most blatantly violates the scriptures, for Jesus Christ clearly taught both the Jews and the Nephites, “And again it is written, thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths; But verily, verily, I say unto you, swear not at all; neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; Nor by the earth, for it is his footstool; Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair black or white; But let your communication be Yea, yea; Nay, nay; for whatsoever cometh of more than these is evil.” (Emphasis added.)
Based upon the Lord’s definition of endowment from the Doctrine and Covenants and the warnings against what currently takes place within the temple Endowment ceremony, we can not only conclude that the Endowment is not of God, but is used to deceive Mormons into joining themselves into a secret combination that infiltrated the church in its early days and altered what the Lord prescribed to be done with His holy house.
The Lord warned in D&C 124:47-48, “And it shall come to pass that if you build a house unto my name, and do not do the things that I say, I will not perform the oath which I make unto you, neither fulfil the promises which ye expect at my hands, saith the Lord. For instead of blessings, ye, by your own works, bring cursings, wrath, indignation, and judgments upon your own heads, by your follies, and by all your abominations, which you practise before me, saith the Lord.” Because the church does not what the Lord has said, every temple it has built after the one in Kirtland is cursed and ripe for destruction due to the blatant mockery of God’s established pattern of openness, no secrets, and the sole teaching of repentance and baptism as the only saving ordinances with more or less coming of evil.
As there is no scriptural evidence in favor of the current Endowment, the members of the church have every right to refuse to recognize it as a legitimate ordinance. D&C Section 26 states that all things within the church are to be done with the common consent of the members. Thus those members have every right to demand a full accounting of what the leaders, past and present, have kept secret from them. If the church leaders do not come forward to confess and repent of their unjust actions in deceiving the members in this way, they will have no choice but to be exposed and cut off in a manner very similar to the promised destruction of the cursed temples wherein there will not be left one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down.